Darn! I was doing so well staying current with our blog until we got so busy I had no time! Well, mostly I had no energy but never mind that! Let's get caught up!
We left Assateague National Seashore and made our way to Lewes, DE which was only about 40 miles north so we took our time getting on the road. Our destination was the Elks Lodge and for several days leading up to our arrival we had been calling the lodge to let them know we were coming and ask where we should park. No one ever answered the phone so we decided to drive there the day before we planned to move just to make sure the lodge was still open. It was and we got all the info we needed to get ourselves set up there.
Like other lodges we've visited on this trip, the guidebook indicates no hook-ups and yet we were happy to find 50 amps and water! It was quite a challenge to get ourselves into the space but, once there, we were happy as clams! We were visited by lodge members who welcomed us and presented us with a beautiful lodge pin.
There are some amazing beaches around Lewes and the Delaware coast but we spent the majority of our time shopping, restocking and generally taking care of household tasks. We found Lewes to be quite crowded although there were some beautiful and quiet beach neighborhoods we enjoyed visiting. The historic downtown area was quaint and reminded us a little of Beaufort, NC.
Four days flew by quickly and soon it was time to move on to Dorothy, NJ where we would meet up with Bill & Kelly! We had not seen them since we had our farewell dinner on the Kenai Peninsula last August. We were one ferry ride and an hour away from the Country Oaks Campground where they are workcamping until after Labor Day. We planned a week at the campground and their work schedule was such that we had plenty of days to become immersed in all things Jersey!
Upon our arrival after squeals and hugs while Steven went inside to register, Kelly walked to our site as I followed in Scoopy. This is where we once again were reminded that a 5th wheel can make turns a motorhome cannot - I made a turn and was stopped by a tree. Bill went to get a chainsaw. I mean there are literally so many trees in this park that they will cut one down if it's in your way and nobody will notice. Anyway, Steven managed to get Toadie unhooked and I backed up and made the turn, thereby saving a tree, or at least a couple of big limbs.
After a quick set up, we walked over to Bill & Kelly's site to meet Kelly's mom who was visiting friends in the area and dropped in for a few hours. It was so nice to meet Barbara and plus I got this cute photo of mom and daughter.
While we enjoyed a fabulous dinner of BBQ ribs and mac-n-cheese, we planned and plotted our itinerary over the next few days. Bill & Kelly's work schedule during our week-long stay included days off and late starts, affording us time for lots of day trips around the state.
Although I have never lived in New Jersey, my paternal grandmother and my aunt and uncle lived there and over the years I have visited quite a few times. In fact, I actually got married to my first husband at St. John's United Methodist Church in Hazlet, NJ. Last year as we traveled to Alaska together and were getting to know each other, I shared this fact with Bill and Kelly and was completely shocked to learn that nine years after me, they were married in the same church, by the same minister. How's that for "small world"? We're all still shaking our heads over that one!
So it seemed altogether appropriate that on our first day out we drove to Hazlet and made a stop at St. John's. We also drove by my aunt and uncle's former home in Union Beach. It was the same little grey house I remember and a real kick to see it again after all these years.
Since Bill & Kelly are also from this area, we spent time visiting places from their early years, including driving by their first home, seeing where Bill got his career start and of course, stopping at their favorite food establishments. One thing about the four of us is that we never ever go hungry. After lunch at a seafood market in Keyport, which we ate in the car, we stopped at a fabulous market called Delicious Orchards for "must-have" donuts and a few other things. From the photos it seems that we spent our day eating in the car, which we kinda did. By the time we got home, we were all in a food coma.
The next day B&K had to work a full day so Steven and I headed to Atlantic City. The place was a ghost town, like, life after people. We loved it. We could walk the boardwalk and get a flavor of the place without having to fight the crowds. A lot of shops weren't open yet but that was fine with us. As non-gamblers, we didn't even go into any of the casinos. I get kind of creeped out by it all, frankly.
There are two work days at the campground on which B&K don't start until 5 pm. This gave us plenty of time to explore Cape May and the boardwalk in Ocean City. Here, plenty of stores, restaurants and arcades were open and we visited them all. On a quest for yet another food coma, we snacked on salt water taffy, ate pizza at Manco & Manco and followed that up with boardwalk French fries, pretzels and frozen custard. It sounds so piggy to list it all like that. :)
For our last two days at Country Oaks Campground we managed to get Scoopy washed, necessary because of all the time we had spent near saltwater. Plus, the guys who washed and waxed her in Bella Terra did a really crappy job. She looked much better when we finished.
On our last night together, as I have been promising to do, I finally made my very own version of shrimp and grits. I had read at least a hundred recipes and was trying to figure out which one I wanted to use as a starting point. I'm pretty picky about my flavor profiles as I've had my share of cheese grits casseroles and mostly find them to be tasteless. So I wanted to find a recipe that added a ton of flavor. I started with a Bobby Flay recipe suggested to me by Laurel of Raven & Chickadee and went from there. Anyway, long story short, it was fabulous. Steven and I have a few recipes we've been intending to share here on the blog but just haven't gotten around to it. One of these days we will, and I will include my shrimp and grits.
One last story before I close out this entry. Once we knew we were traveling to the east coast this year, I expressed my concern to anyone who would listen about the tick population and my extreme dislike of said population. Lyme disease is nothing to mess around with. I know there are ticks everywhere, but it's the east coast that is really infested. I have to admit that the notion of ticks dampened my enthusiasm for travel here but I decided to buck up and deal with it.
So one morning Steven sat down to enjoy his breakfast when he suddenly said, "A dude just fell on my plate." I said, "What kind of dude?" He brings over his plate and shows me. "Damn, that's a tick!" I stifled my urge to freak out and instead just shook it off his plate into a baggie and we took a photo of it next to a penny for scale. Steven emailed it off to the TickEncounter website for identification. Within a day we had a response. It was an American Dog Tick, which we had kinda already figured out and Kelly agreed. The email contained a ton of information about ticks in general and loads of links to more information.
Aside from once again expressing my tick angst, I would like to suggest that if you come across a tick, send in a photo and fill out the form. This organization will use that information to track the spread of ticks and we will all benefit from the information they put out. I am still trying not to freak out because I’m wondering how that dude got into my home in the first place? Sure, he caught a ride in somehow, which just proves my point that those little bastards are everywhere!
NEXT UP: New York City!!